Monday, January 4, 2016

Devotion 1.5.16

It's a blur.  Where does the time go?  Yes, and with this new year, let's pause to reflect and make anew our resolve to lose weight/become a better person/read more/eat less/drink less/become healthy/kick a bad habit/start a new healthier habit/be a better me.

Those are the New Year Clichés that were announced on December 31, 2015 at the annual New Year's Eve Cliché Festival held around the world in homes, large gatherings, downtowns across the globe.  We ring out the old and bring in the new, or should that be we wring out the old, bring in the new?

It's all just pap, a friend of mine used to say about such things as New Year's Resolutions, meaning mushy and soft and meaningless.  With my wife away on family business, I dined alone New Year's which literally meant I was the smartest person in the house since I was alone.  This person enjoyed the quiet, watched "Tombstone," and then quietly went to bed.  No noisemakers, no toasts, no countdowns, no such stuff as that, plus I was still riding high from the UH victory over Florida State.

That said, I tend to think of Ecclesiastes on times like New Year's, not because I'm a grouch (which some have titled me with that honor - curmudgeon to be exact), but because it is all vanity.  "Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher , vanity of vanities! All is vanity.  What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?  A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever." (1:2 - 3)  The notation says that "vanity" is taken from the Hebrew word meaning "mere breath."  So, it is words, talk, breath leaving my mouth.

Without Christ as the center of all I do, my labor is in vain.  "With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible," we hear in Matthew (19:26).  Without Christ as my center, my actions are in vain.  "I can do all things through him who gives me strength," Paul writes in Philippians 4:13. 

Today's devotion is written in the first person for the most part.  This is my confession.  This is my prayer.  This prayer and confession has been going on since I began doing such in earnest some time ago.  I fail on most days because I leave Christ out.  So, New Year's is another day to dedicate myself to Christ and to attempt to place him at the center of what I do.  And when I fail (often), I am comforted by Paul's words in Romans, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (8:38 - 39)

That's on-going, so New Year's really holds no bearing with what I do.  What's your confession?  What's your resolve?  Pray that we stay in Christ Jesus and that our confession remain Christ and him crucified for our salvation.

Hope Men's Ministry

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